Those who cover webcams or use special webcam shutters are not necessarily paranoid. Unfortunately, webcams are frequently hacked, so an uninvited guest could theoretically turn on the camera and record your actions using secretly installed remote access software. How do you know if someone has hacked your camera?
Ransomware attackers try to make money on literally everything. Many malicious programs target webcams specifically so that hackers can obtain content suitable for extortion. This is the reason why it’s very important to install a good anti-malware software to maintain your privacy. However, it’s also worth knowing the signs that someone has taken control over your camera. What should you pay attention to?
Table of Contents | How to Check If Someone Has Hacked Into My Webcam.
1. Your Webcam Light Turns on When You’re Not Using It
This is the simplest indicator. Webcams have a tiny light on them – you can see how it turns on when the webcam is activated, for example for a video call. However, if you notice that the webcam light comes on unexpectedly, especially when you are not using the camera, this is a clear sign that someone is turning on your webcam remotely.
If this happens, quickly check all active applications, including those running in the background. See if any of them are using your webcam. In some cases, turning on the camera is just a function in the settings of an application, but it is important for you to make sure of this or, conversely, exclude it.
2. Browser Extensions Use Your Webcam
Browser extensions are another potential reason for turning on your webcam without your knowledge. Check if the light comes on every time you open your internet browser. If so, this is a sign that you have a browser extension or add-on that uses the camera.
Most extensions shouldn’t do this, so you need to figure out where the culprit for launching the camera is and remove it.
3. Weird Video Files Are Stored on Your PC
Let’s say a hacker managed to get remote control of your webcam, turn it on, and tried to make recordings with it. Malware can be very advanced in some ways, but often the recorded videos are still on your hard drive.
One of the easiest ways to check if your webcam has been hacked is to open folders on your hard drive and check for suspicious webcam videos that weren’t recorded by you.
To find them, first go to a special folder where the recordings from the webcam are stored by default. Check other video folders as well.
4. Your Security Settings Have Changed
Malicious software can also change security settings to make it easier to control your webcam and send or receive video files. Open your webcam app and check its security and accessibility settings to see if they have changed. Pay special attention to the apps that have access to your camera. In Windows 10, you can turn off the option of apps to access your camera altogether, which is pretty good.
We recommend that you periodically run your antivirus software to see if it reports any malware or suspicious activity on your computer.
If, after all, your camera has been hacked, then in the worst case, the hacker will try to extort money for private videos. Keep in mind, oftentimes hackers simply select contacts from lists on the darknet and send thousands of emails at a time, hoping that someone will be scared enough to pay. If there is no evidence of a video taken from your camera, then there is no reason to believe that someone may have actually made the recording. It is best not to reply to such messages at all, not to open any files or follow the links, even if the message says that it is a video from your webcam.